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Wisconsin: Suit -- AIDS Diagnosis Wrongly Disclosed

July 3, 2012

A lawsuit filed Friday against the University of Wisconsin Hospital alleges personnel there improperly disclosed a patient's AIDS diagnosis to family members. The case marks the second time in about eight months UW Hospital has been sued because doctors allegedly revealed a patient's HIV status to family members without permission.

The new lawsuit was filed by the patient's estate and family. Before the man died, he was "embarrassed, humiliated, and deprived of a dignified death by the unauthorized disclosure of his HIV/AIDS status," the suit alleges.

According to the filing, a resident told the wife and son of the patient that he had AIDS, rather than wake him from a nap to tell him personally. The man was forced to tell his wife he had been unfaithful and that his diagnosis was likely the result of same-sex extramarital affairs he never intended to reveal.

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The lawsuit also alleges that medical personnel disregarded privacy safeguards the family was told had been initiated to avoid further disclosures, with a resident and medical students discussing the man's condition in the presence of one of his sisters.

"Many of his siblings questioned him about his diagnosis, and prior to [the man's] death he knew and understood that his HIV/AIDS status and his same-sex extramarital affairs had been disclosed to all his siblings and his mother, and he suffered greatly as a result," says the suit.

The other lawsuit was filed by a man whose mother was allegedly told at the hospital he was HIV-positive. Court records show that case is in court-ordered mediation.

UW Hospital spokesperson Toni Morrissey said the hospital has not received the lawsuit and does not comment on pending litigation.

Back to other news for July 2012

Excerpted from:
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison)
06.30.2012; Ed Treleven




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